Gray areas inside black boxes: Tracing actor-networks and ethics in professional design practice

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-17
Identifier: 
etd21609
Keywords: 
Design ethics
Design research
Posthuman design
Actor-network theory
Design practice
Human-centered design
Abstract: 

In this study, I analyze professional designers’ experiences of exercising agency and enacting ethics in design practice. This research is based on a focus group and a series of individual interviews with design and technology practitioners at technology companies and design consultancies. First, based on grounded theory analysis, I present a thematic analysis of ethical issues in professional design practice and the mitigating strategies used by designers. Second, based on actor-network theory (ANT), I present three vignettes to describe the human and nonhuman networks of professional designers and how they increase agency and ethics in design. The contributions of this work include an application of actor-network theory to professional design practice, an empirical account of the human and nonhuman networks of professional design practice, and descriptions of how agency and ethical responsibility are distributed and shared across humans and nonhumans.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
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